Archive for the ‘reflections’ Tag

Reflecting on 2010

cartoonish. i like it

Random Observation/Comment #252: Writing these year-end reviews always put me in such a good mood.  It enumerates and puts meaning to my accomplishments.  It gives me a burst of motivation to complete my goals list.  It lets me reevaluate my progress and recreate a new list of things to do the next year.  It gives me at least a direction to walk in this ominous path.  Try it – it will free you.

2010 was a different year for me. Compared to last year, I had not done as much traveling or photography, but I had worked on different parts of my personality. I have become more social and tech involved with a greater focus on relationships and learning. In this past year, I visited Cozumel, Key West, Miami, Marseille in France, Cinque Terre in Italy, Florence, and Rome.  I saw her again.  I wrote a few more entries consistently involved in career advancement. I attended at least 50 after hour drinks and networking events, meeting with around 20 valuable mentors.  I became technologically synced.  I learned much more than I once knew about relationships.  I learned to cook better and ate new dishes that were purposefully tasted for the purpose of cooking it at home.  I went sky diving and had the most amazing feeling of euphoria. I helped Komtra get their produced CD recognized and put online.  I helped design and write Ryan’s comic book.  I got into rockclimbing and bought shoes for it. I took the CFA with a certain level (haha) of studying and commitment.  I learned a bit of French and improved on my Japanese. I took pictures for 10 iClick photography events that became published on internal sites.  I made a second home.

This year was really more about career and girls.  Although every year is usually about girls, this one was a little more in depth with the drama portion and finding one that would actually fit into my bigger plan.  Everything seemed ridiculously complicated, but it was probably much easier than I made it.  There were a lot of great memories and a lot of inside jokes that never faded.  My eyes were opened into much more independence and it let me glimpse into a world where my parents were free of the burden of guiding me through everything. I hope they know my decision was made to help them use their time more creatively.

To continue with my tradition, I’ve set up new goals, aspirations, dreams, and fantasies for the next year.  Most of them are revised and redefined.

Goals:

  1. Stop procrastinating – become much more productive
  2. Learn to write more in Chinese
  3. Learn to speak fluently in Japanese, Mandarin, German, and Spanish by 25.
  4. Review more restaurants
  5. Cook more complicated meals and pair with items that complement each other
  6. Finish comic book
  7. Finish writing Love with an Expiration Date eventually
  8. Add more to my bottle cap and labels collection of beers
  9. Finish my side projects list (top secret for now)
  10. Have 50 friends use my pictures as facebook profiles
  11. Travel to Machu Pichu, Hawaii, and Iceland next year
  12. Continue to collect memorable quotes from amazing nights
  13. Make a second home
  14. Stay true to the promises made
  15. Get six pack abs – for reals this time
  16. Become a better public speaker
  17. Create a reputable online identity
  18. Keep a scrapbook of all memories

Aspirations:

  1. Get Engaged and make a plunge towards commitement
  2. Find a career with flexible hours, low stress, and high pay (maybe this should be a fantasy or at least a dream)
  3. Publish a book (autobiography, memoirs, novel, etc)
  4. Make money from photography
  5. Get an MBA
  6. Save someone’s life – change it for the better forever
  7. Beat Edmund in a game of Table Tennis
  8. Own a walk-in closet of suits (like Barney)
  9. Go restaurant reviewing with my brother – he drives the nice car and I pay for the meals
  10. Work for Google

Dreams:

  1. Visit all 7 continents
  2. See all 7 wonders of the world (all of them listed on Wikipedia which makes them like 50 based on different organizations)
  3. Travel to at least 50 countries (currently at 17)
  4. Make my first million by the time I’m 28
  5. Eat at almost 80% of all restaurants in The City
  6. Early retirement
  7. Make a living traveling and writing
  8. Learn to fly a plane
  9. Own a house that I’ve designed (I would build it, but I’m afraid it would fall down while I sleep)
  10. Become as influential as a professor – possibly become a professor
  11. Change the world with something
  12. Get on the Colbert Report
  13. Travel to space – weightlessness would be cool too
  14. Bar owner where all my friends would drink for free

Fantasies: (All new sorts of ridiculousness: see past few years of entries for other funny ones)

  1. Have Force powers of persuasion
  2. Host a TV show about Engineers selling out to Finance
  3. Have my own theme music wherever I go
  4. Open a mashed potatoes restaurant
  5. Live GTA video game in real life for one day without consequence
  6. Be the only one who could lie in a world that everyone tells the truth
  7. Understand women
  8. Control an alien and essentially have mind-sex with animals so I could control them with my pony-tail
  9. Speak to animals in a romantic comedy movie with Scarlet Johanson
  10. Be the Barnacle and Suit Up all the time
  11. Drive a car that transforms into a robot alien with Megan Fox being my girlfriend
  12. I got it! Slick Shoes!
  13. Wear glasses that can disguise me between my split normal and super hero life style
  14. Roam the desserts bringing a book out West. I am badass with a machete and partially blind.
  15. Win “So You Think You Can Dance” and have girls (and probably guys) swarm me
  16. Car chase driving an Aston Martin

As always, Health and Happiness, my Friends…

~See Lemons Look forward to 2011

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Searching for a Vacation

sunrise in Denia - a great vacation

sunrise in Denia - a great vacation

Random Observation/Comment #209: The world is filled with crazy people trying to do crazy things only to pass the time.  It hurts my head wondering the origins of these brilliant sports, all of which are probably extremely exhilarating and loads of fun, but include such a dangerous twist that I would personally rather stay on solid ground.  For example, who decided to jump off a large mountain on a piece of wood and build large metal boxes to bring people up and do it all over again?  Of course, I love skiing, but sometimes I wonder how crazy of an idea it is.  Adrenaline junkies follow their extreme-sports by adding a higher probability of death into the equation of a simple sport.  If the idea of jumping out of an airplane wasn’t fulfilling enough, they decided to bring a snowboard and do tricks in the air while plunging towards some, very solid, Earth.  I guess it’s this type of unique injection into a community that makes life more livable (even if they are significantly shortening it).  It’s an undeniable fact that there are events happening around this world that show the most evil side of our species, but there are things that this world has to offer that are breathtaking beyond our wildest imaginations.  One of them just might be found while risking your life for no other reason, but to prove that you’re able to push the limits.  Cheers to true passion (with a side order of stupidity).

I’ve invented many reasons to validate these travel experiences (all of which I will discuss in an eventual journal entry). One of these reasons is the search for what I find is the best way to unwind for a few weeks after a month of hard work.

What I considered the “study-abroad experience” living in a dorm brought me back to a freshman year of college-party-life that I dreamed of having (but was stolen from me by the overloaded credits and slave drivers at Cooper).  Unlike my first attempt at having fun, this time my schedule was more flexible and I followed a fantastic adventure filled with drinking alcohol at night, sleeping often, internet usage, and then drinking some more in the afternoon.  In many ways, it was a beautiful mess, and I absolutely loved it.  However, this world is impossible to repeat – I think I’ve had my last hurrah with these types of stupid drunken shenanigans.  Not to say that I won’t drink anymore, but I am done with the Reeperbahn to Fischmarkt scene for a while.  It’s hard to admit, but I think I’m getting older :\.

The weekend trips throughout Europe were nice little treats after programming for hours and writing papers.  I went to so many places with just my backpack and my camera with the intention to see all the touristy attractions in major cities.  I was a reporter for a fake audience, and I was trying to just remember the trip and absorb some history.  I asked questions and made new friends at every hostel.  The introductions were simple and I got much practice with making small talk.  I basically tried to formulate my own idea of why people love Europe by asking for other’s opinions.  In my mind, I ranked each location based on a combination of opinions.  I tried to account for the type of personality and order it into a type of chart, hoping that I would learn enough to let people know what their favorite place was depending on their personalities.

I began wondering what my closest friends would find the most fun and found a bit of a smirk appear wondering how they passed each day back home.  I’m sure they’ve been managing.  It’s nice to miss people and be missed.

This was a true backpackers’ world of being open without any plans and just following some tours and going off into some smaller groups.  I still love doing this, but it gets much more difficult to become this type of traveler as you cross an age threshold (around 27 becomes a little creepy).

There was one more unexpected type of vacation during my stay in Europe.  I met a wonderful girl that shared the same enthusiasm for nature and walking.  We climbed mountains together, walked around major cities, took loads of pictures (hers were mostly of me taking pictures), and grew closer to each other like a married couple on their honey moon.  It was one of my favorite parts of this vacation, and I look forward to this type of long term relationship when it happens again.  I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.  The interesting part is that for this type of vacation, the location and sights doesn’t make a huge difference as long as it’s easy on the eyes.  In fact, the blinking Eiffel tower was just a nice background for my main focus.  This is the type of vacation I expect when I’m looking for someone to grow old with, but with the next few years, I think I’ll be trying a different method of unwinding.

I was mainly thinking about this entry right before I fell asleep during a siesta in Denia.  My mind had finally cleared itself of schedules and tasks.  I didn’t feel pressured or in any sort of rush to do anything in particular.  I ate amazing food and chatted with great people in a summer beach house.  In many ways, it gave me a weird grandparent-feeling with the sounds of the swarm of cousins laughing by the pool and the smell of a freshly prepared lunch at 3PM before an afternoon siesta.  Time passed so slowly, yet I yearned for it to continue after it was over.  It gave me time to stop and think about life, which is sometimes neglected due to a clutter of routines and stress.  Although I had accomplished a very limited number of tasks throughout that week, I felt revived.  My brain had finally taken a deep breath from the surface after diving deeper into life and careers.

So what is my vacation?  Just like the saying, “Home is in your head,” so are vacations.  Who said home and vacations are on separate domains?  More than anything, I missed my friends.  I think my next vacation will be spent with them.  We’ll all be bums together.

~See Lemons Finally Relax

How was your trip?

Just like my vacation.

Just like my vacation.

Random Observation/Comment #208: As the trip winds down, I feel this nervousness that I can only describe as the feeling I get right before I wake from a lucid dream.  I try to concentrate on my hands and relish the dream state, but I know it’s slipping.  It’s like the universe realizes I’m close to finding the meaning of life, so it just resets itself and brings me back to square one.  Why not a few more days? A few more hours?  I guess I’d always want more from this dream.  At least it’s a dream I will always remember.  I’ll probably think of it whenever I yawn and forget to cover my mouth.

I dedicate this entry to the typical questions that I will definitely be asked by my friends.  Since no one reads this, I will have to say this again anyway.  Of course, I would love to relive these moments and share the stories in person rather, so please feel free to ask.  Plus, I tend to answer these types of questions based on the person I’m talking with.  If I think you’re the type of person that wants to hear about locations for your next personal travel, I’d try to talk more about my opinions of the major cities.  If you’re the type of person that’s into food, I’d describe the specialty meals and different cuisines around Europe.  If you love partying and alcohol (and who doesn’t), I’d talk about some crazy nights/mornings I had.  And if you’re Jake, James, or Justin, who want to hear about “slamming European bitches,” I’ll try my best to go into as much detail as possible.

The obvious question really doesn’t take much creativity, but I will save the answer to the end. Hopefully, the previous questions and answers will give some type of answer to it.

Q: Where did you go?

A: In chronological order, I spent one week in London, one week in Interlaken, 5 days total in Berlin, 2 days in Dresden, 6 days total in Amsterdam, 7 days total in Munich, 2 trips to Fussen for Neuschwanstein Castle, 8 days total in Prague, 2 days in Dusseldorf, 1 day in Hannover, 1 day in Schwerin, 1 day in Stuttgart, 6 days total in Brussels/Bruge, 3 days total in Schliersee, 5 days in San Sebastian, 1 day in Bilbao, 5 days in Barcelona, 5 days in Madrid, 5 days in Denia, 4 days in Valencia, 4 days in Paris, 1 day in Binz, and the rest of the time in Hamburg.

Q: Which was your favorite city?

A: This is a very difficult question.  I have favorites for different categories, but for an overall I think it’s a tie between Interlaken and Denia.  Of course if I ranked it by just the place I had the most fun, Hamburg would win hands down – I had met some of the best people around the world in the international dorm, but if I were to deal with this from a traveler’s point of view, my recommendations would be as follows.  This would actually be best answered in chart form.  With the cities as the rows, the columns will have marks out of 5 based on the categories of Party/Nightlife, Nature, Food, Relax, Romance, History/Museums, and Activities. I’ll leave a column for extra comments as well.

Trip Summary

Trip Summary

Q: Why were you able to do this again?

A: I was there working on a “research project” with Hamburg University. Hopefully, I’ll be able to publish a conference paper from it. It was much more of a Liberal Arts vacation though.

Q: How many pictures did you take?

A: A lot. I’d do the statistics about my picture taking again, but that would be way too nerdy. Approximately 30GB-worth.

Q: Slam? (For the obvious people.)

A: Wordlife.

Q: How was your trip?

A: This past year has been the best year in my life. It surpasses all of my other trips combined and will be remembered forever. The number of friends I met – quite a few.  The memories we built together – priceless.

~See Lemons Expect This Question Anyway